How to disguise yourself as Googlebot

This article explains how to disguise your browser as a Googlebot. The immediate question that comes to mind is, "why would you want to do that". Have you ever come across search results in a search engine, that seem like what you are looking for and then when you click on, it tells you that you need to register or log on to view this content ? What if your browser was presented to the site as Googlebot? Most sites would allow Googlebot to crawl through so that it can index its pages.

In our example we would show how to change your Internet Explorer 6's properties such that it reports as GoogleBot. You can appropriately modify the registry settings below to do the same on higher versions of IE or even FireFox. So lets start by going to a website which would first tell us what our browser is (IE, Firefox, Opera etc). Later, after we finish the process, we would visit this website again to see what our browser is being reported as.
- Go to http://www.quirksmode.org/js/detect.html and see what browser is detected

- Copy the following lines of code exactly and paste it in Notepad
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\5.0\User Agent]
@="Googlebot/2.1"
"Compatible"="+http://www.googlebot.com/bot.html"

- Save the Notepad file as gbot.reg

- Now double click on the registry file you created above and say yes to the import prompt

- Let’s now go back to the browser detect website and see what it finds, go to http://www.quirksmode.org/js/detect.html

- As you would find, the user agent property is now reporting the browser as googlebot

If you want to change your settings back to what they were, you can do the following:

- Copy the following lines exactly and paste them in Notepad

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\5.0\User Agent]
@="Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)"

- Save the above file as back.reg and double click on it. Say yes to importing registry info

- Go back to http://www.quirksmode.org/js/detect.html; it should have reset your browser back to what it was

Now you can try going to websites which need logging on to some areas, but with your browser agent set to Googlebot, would allow you in!